Friday, April 25, 2014


The Blender

Podcast: Danchyk, An American Idol -- In Belarus

Bohdan Andrusyshyn, a.k.a. Danchyk, performs in The Blender studios.
Bohdan Andrusyshyn, a.k.a. Danchyk, performs in The Blender studios.
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Imagine traveling to a country you had never visited and being welcomed as a hometown hero.

That's what happened to Bohdan Andrusyshyn, an American born to a Belarusian mother and a Ukrainian father in 1960s New York. After a chance encounter with a Joan Baez record, Andrusyshyn picked up a guitar and launched his own singing career as Danchyk, eventually building a wide repertoire of Belarusian and Ukrainian ballads and folk songs that earned him an enthusiastic following among U.S. diaspora communities.

"Belarusachka," Danchyk's first album, released in 1977"Belarusachka," Danchyk's first album, released in 1977
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"Belarusachka," Danchyk's first album, released in 1977
"Belarusachka," Danchyk's first album, released in 1977
Danchyk's music, carried back to Belarus on homemade cassettes, unwittingly earned him a fan base -- including members of the Belarusian Soviet super-group Pesniary, who recognized the young singer during a rare tour of the United States in the late 1970s.

Eventually, they helped Andrusyshyn make his first-ever trip to his ancestral homeland, where he was eagerly welcomed by thousands of Belarusians hungry to hear music in their native language, whose use had dwindled after years of russification. (Contemporary musicians like Lavon Volski have taken up the mantle, continuing to perform in Belarusian despite state disapproval.)
Talking to Danchyk, An American (Folk) Idol -- In Belarus
Talking to Danchyk, An American (Folk) Idol -- In Belarusi
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After four CDs and a successful tour with Leanid Bartkevich, the lead singer of Pesniary, Andrusyshyn settled into a new life as deputy director of RFE/RL's Belarus Service. But this week he dusted off his guitar and joined us in The Blender studios to play some of the American songs that inspired him early on and to talk about his life as a Belarusian folk hero.

Daisy SindelarDaisy Sindelar
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Daisy Sindelar
Daisy Sindelar
We hope you enjoy this very musical episode of The Blender, hosted by Daisy Sindelar.

This week's songs include "There But For Fortune," written by Phil Ochs and performed by Bohdan Andrusyshyn; "Donna Donna," performed by Joan Baez; "Belarusachka" and "Kharashukha," performed by Danchyk; "Pesnia ab Radzimie," performed by Danchyk and Leanid Bartkevich; "Kasiu Jas kaniushynu" (Jas Scythes the Clover) by Pesniary; and "Tudy, siudy -- sudy, sudy" (Here, There -- Trials, Trials) by Lavon Volski.
Danchyk Sings "Harashuha"
Danchyk Sings "Harashuha"i
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Danchyk Sings "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
Danchyk Sings "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" Live In The Blender Studios i
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Listen to or download Episode 46 of The Blender above, or subscribe to The Blender on iTunes. For the complete Blender archive, click here.
Danchyk (Bohdan Andrusyshyn)
Danchyk (Bohdan Andrusyshyn)
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 25, 2011 15:01
A very nice interview - and good tunes, too.

by: Roma Hadzewycz from: Morristown NJ
November 25, 2011 23:46
Thank you very much for this. I enjoyed the program so much, all the more so because Danchyk was one of our colleagues at NYU, both in the journalism department and among us Ukrainian American students. We heard about his success among the Belarusian community and in Belarus and were thrilled for him. It was nice to "reconnect" with him via your program.

All the best to Danchyk.

In Response

by: Danchyk from: Prague, CR
November 29, 2011 06:50
Hey Roma! How sweet of you to send this! It's almost like a msg on Facebook (which, like hard rock music,I'm still resisiting: "born too late!") I remember the (snoozy)class we took together, and even your maiden name! Hope you're well - and diakuju za vistochku!
In Response

by: Roma from: Morristown NJ
December 05, 2011 16:45
Thank you, Danchyk. Nice to hear from you. I even came across a story we did on you in The Ukrainian Weekly about your first Ukrainian recording.

by: Frank T. Csongos from: Fairfax, VA, US
November 29, 2011 22:49
Superb! As good as anything NPR can throw at you in this category. I remember him from my Prague days. RFE/RL has talent.

About This Podcast

Brian Whitmore
Welcome to "The Blender," the weekly podcast from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "The Blender" presents the best of RFE/RL -- features from our far-flung bureaus, interviews with newsmakers and correspondents, reports on language, music, and culture, even a little humor now and again. A new episode is posted every Friday. Download the latest episode at left or subscribe on iTunes. Your feedback is welcome, either in the comments section or write to podcast@rferl.org.